By now, you’ve probably heard of Extinction Rebellion – but may not know who the group are exactly.
Whether because of the high-profile protests over the last few years or appearances by figures such as Greta Thunberg at their demonstrations, Extinction Rebellion are a difficult group to miss both online and in person.
And now the climate activist group have announced two weeks of protests over the next fortnight, we’re set to see a whole lot more of them.
Who are Extinction Rebellion?
Extinction Rebellion (also known as XR) describe themselves as an international “non-violent civil disobedience” movement.
Climate activists launched the group in 2018 as they say life on Earth is in crisis and facing “mass extinction”. They want governments around the world to declare a “climate and ecological emergency” and take immediate action to prevent it.
While initially it started as a small organisation, evidence suggests that it’s now spread all around the world with dozens of groups forming.
The group are easily identifiable by their iconic logo; an hourglass inside a circle, to represent the idea that time is running out.
What are their aims?
Extinction Rebellion have three main demands:
- Government must declare a climate and ecological emergency.
- The government must commit to reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2025.
- Government must create a Citizen’s Assembly to oversee decisions “on climate and ecological justice”.
However, the group has several aims targeting different elements of society who they deem are complicit in, if not deepening, the climate crisis. This includes everyone from businesses who participate in so-called “fast fashion” to media organisations.
In August, XR are planning multiple demonstrations over the next two weeks primarily in the City of London. Previously the group have criticised leading banks, whose headquarters are mainly situated in this area of London, of financing fossil fuel projects.
Apart from to say that they would not target public transport, after an incident in 2019 received widespread backlash, the group have remained vague about the timing and whereabouts of their protests to maximise their impact.
Where are Extinction Rebellion’s protest locations?
Extinction Rebellion are promising to return to the city for the “Impossible Rebellion” campaign “like never before” with two weeks of protests in London starting on Monday August 24.
This is where their demonstrations have taken place so far and where the group will be over the next fortnight:
Protestors blocked one of Covent Garden’s busiest junctions on Monday, kicking off the group’s wave of demonstrations in the capital.
Activists chained themselves together to cordon off the busy roundabout at the intersection between St Martin’s Lane and Great Newport Street, close to Leicester Square. A van carrying a 4-metre high pink table structure then pulled up into the space before protestors erected the structure in the middle of the roundabout.
Etched along the top of the table are the words “Come to the table”, a message from the group that asks for everyone to have a say in how to beat the climate crisis.
A statement from XR says, “As floods, fire and famine break out around the world, it is clear that climate breakdown is here now, and there is no choice left now but to take urgent action. Everyone deserves a seat at the table to have a say in how to tackle the greatest crisis of our times.”
The group intends to keep the pink table in place for the whole fortnight.
On Monday, activists started their protest in Trafalgar Square.
They then headed up Charing Cross Road in large numbers, which apparently acted as a diversion technique to keep law enforcement occupied while other XR protesters built the table in Covent Garden.
St James Park
A protest led by XR Cymru Action, the group’s Welsh division, took place in St James Park on Tuesday August 24.
“We demand Westminster ends all business deals with climate criminals,” the event’s Facebook page says. “No more blood money polluting banks from government contracts.
“Climate change has flooded our homes, burnt our uplands, destroyed our wildlife and polluted our seas. Government contracts with criminal corporations, exploit and endanger the future of our planet.”
Make Pensions Green – Get Out of Oil & Gas is happening on Tuesday August 24 one hour later, with protestors told to meet at London Bridge.
Led by XR Grandparents and Elders, the event encourages pension funds to stop investing money in oil and gas.
Cavendish Square Gardens
A couple of hours later, Code Red For Fossil Fuel Fashion kicks off in Cavendish Square Gardens.
Brazilian Embassy, St. James’
On Wednesday August 25, XR are calling for a Global Day of Action for Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon Rainforest.
What the day will entail is mostly unclear. But the group have called for a solidarity protest outside of the embassy at 11am.
“In July scientists announced that the Amazon forest has reached its tipping point and is now emitting more carbon dioxide than it is able to absorb,” the group’s Facebook page states. “We still don’t know if this is reversible but tribal peoples are the best conservationists and guardians of the natural world and evidence proves they manage their environment and its wildlife better than anyone else.
“For the survival of Brazil’s indigenous peoples, for the protection of Brazil’s most biodiverse territories, for the health of our planet and for all humanity, join us outside the Brazilian Embassy!”
On Wednesday August 25, Women and FINT (Female, Intersex, Nonbinary, Trans.) Action will lead a protest in Piccadilly Circus.
“The climate crisis is unfolding alongside the crises of poverty, covid and inequality – we are in a full-scale emergency that demands our unity, leadership and more courage than we think we possess,” the event’s Facebook page reads.
“On Wednesday 25th, women everywhere will rise to the challenge, building bridges as we go. Join us in celebration, solidarity and strength as we raise our voices for the voiceless and on behalf of life itself.”
Bank of England, City of London
Presented by Decolonise the Economy, “Blood Money is a march through the City of London intended to highlight the institutions complicit in environmental racism and exploitation.”
The event page states, “Along the route we will hear about the bloodsoaked profiteering of our economic system: the banks that fund fossil fuel projects, especially in the Global South; the law firms that represent them; and the institutions that enable them to operate with impunity.”
This protest will take place on August 27.
Smithfield Market, City of London
The following day, Animal Rebellion leads a protest to Smithfield Market in the City of London.
This group describes themselves as a “mass movement that uses nonviolent civil disobedience to bring about a transition to a just and sustainable plant-based food system, to halt mass extinction, alleviate the worst effects of climate breakdown and ensure justice for animals.”
The march will begin at the headquarter of Unilever, where the group say that “cruel animal testing practices are signed off”. They will then march to the London HQ of Cargill – an American corporation who raise livestock and trade, purchase and distribute agricultural products like palm oil. The Marine Stewardship Council is next on the route, as the group aims to “hold them accountable for their continued complicity in the brutal fishing industry”.
Finally, Animal Rebellion will lead the protest into Smithfield Market for other activities.
Later on August 28, the group are holding their “Crisis” rally in Brixton Market, Lambeth.
They’re aiming to highlight the connection between the “Impossible Rebellion of XR in London and the various actions of prolonging intergenerational Rebellion in Haiti, Ghana, Nigeria, Colombia, India, Bangladesh and other parts of the Majority World, hopefully including Guyana,” according to the event’s social media page.
Ducketts Common, Harringay
On August 29, XR will host a “Carnival for Climate Justice” on Ducketts Common in Harringay.
The event is being hosted by XR Unify, which the group describe as a “BIOPOC led group who are taking action to put a stop to the fossil fuel industry”. The carnival welcomes children and aims to “celebrate global art, food, dance and stories”.
At 12pm, the event will become a march to Finsbury Park where there will be another undisclosed event.
Extinction Rebellion are rounding out their fortnight of protests at a secret location in west London.
The group have said that scientists, doctors, families and educations will be at the 48-hour event. It starts on Sunday 29 August and finishes on Monday August 30, with aims to discuss a “greener world”. Anyone looking to attend the event has to join the group’s Telegram chat for updates on the location.
From August 30 onwards, the group haven’t disclosed where their final demonstrations will be. But they have said they will continue with occupations at different locations across London.
On September 4, there will be the Nature Rebellion March and an after-party.